This week marked an important turning point in Ontario's awareness of determined and well-funded efforts to undermine the values and conceptual underpinnings of Canadian society by groups hoping to import a toxic and foreign ideology to our nation. Nowhere was this effort more evident than the staging of the "Al Quds Day" rally, held for the past two years on the grounds of Queen's Park. Supporters of a genocidal theocracy which aims to fundamentally reshape western democracies by exporting the values of Shariah law should not and do not have to receive the blessing of the state to exercise this right. The fundamental values cherished by all Canadians must not be discarded so cavalierly, with the acquiescence of our government and the permission of our laws.
I'm not fasting because the oldest symbol of "unity"--the Western Wall--is a battleground for religious pluralism, and I imagine that if the Cohanim were still around they would be on the side of the Haredim, not on the side of those women who, like me, want to be full participating Jews with tallit and a Torah.
The situation Canadian Natives face is not befitting of Canadians' genuine compassion and sense of fairness. But Canadian Jews have, like American Jews during the civil rights struggle, a special duty born of shared experience to actively support First Nations' efforts "to be a free people in their own land" (from the Israeli anthem).
The overwhelming majority of people in the West are not anti-Semitic and the majority believe Israel has a right to exist, but a distressingly large number has been sold a bigoted and false misconception of the correlation of moral force in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel is not without fault, and the Palestinians deserve sympathy and support toward statehood, but they will be retarded and not helped by continuing Israelophobic misinformation on a scale that caused the otherwise inexplicable boycott of an annual Jerusalem conference by scientist Stephen Hawking.
To this day, I cannot watch footage of the faces of Jewish mothers, fathers, and children consigned to the gas chambers in German concentration camps without, as a Canadian, feeling a great sense of sorrow, loss, and guilt. The government of Canada ignored not only the plight of the Jews, but also the protests of the Canadian people and the pleading of the press. Why was nothing done? Because of political expediency; because the prime minister had a visceral distrust of Jews, and in government circles an open-door policy was very unpopular. But prime ministers are not chosen to seek popularity. They are elected to provide leadership.
If we Jews and all other citizens of humanity actually mean the words we speak when we say, "never again," then we must take a stand, today, and actively choose to care and to defend justice by celebrating the uncelebrated and by protecting and giving voice to the voiceless among us, and to say that hatred and intolerance, in any shape or form, no matter how small, has no place in this world.
Netanyahu had until March 16 to form a majority coalition government with some of the other parties that had won seats in the last election. Did he go on the Israeli equivalent of Letterman or "The View" and whine to the Israeli people like a spoiled, self-entitled trust fund brat? No he did not. Bibi sucked it up. He swallowed his considerable pride, walked across the street and broke Matzoh with his sworn enemy, his former chief of staff, Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party. President Obama should learn from Bibi about how to craft a coalition and make government and democracy work.
There will be no peace in the Middle East until the region accepts the fact of the founding of Israel as a Jewish state, as the United Nations explicitly created it. And there will be no movement from the game of piling blood libels on Israel and the Jews by the majority of the world's failed countries until the world's successful countries cease to be pawns in this shameful and hypocritical ostracization -- and they end the effort, begun by the British in the Balfour Declaration in 1917, of selling the same real estate to two different parties.